Online Used Car Company Shift Raises $40 Million

By Noah Long ● April 12, 2019

Shift, a San Francisco-based online used car company, has raised $40 million in equity funding. Founded in 2013, Shift’s software platform enables customers to shop for cars, set up test drives, and receive financing. And car owners can use Shift to sell their vehicles also. All cars sold on the platform must pass a 150+ point inspection.

Last year, Shift generated $135 million in revenue. And the company is expected to hit between $220 million and $240 million. These figures were revealed by Shift co-CEO Toby Russell via TechCrunch.

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Shift founders Russell and George Arison are reportedly for a 2021 IPO. Both of them cited Carvana as a rival that went public in 2017.

“Given Carvana’s trailing revenue of $350 million when they went public as a benchmark, we’d be well-positioned for IPO if we can hit $300 million to $400 million,” said Russell via TechCrunch. “There’s nothing in stone yet, and IPOs depend on a lot of factors like market conditions, but that benchmark is where we’ll be positioning ourselves in the next two years.”

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Shift also hired chief operating officer Sean Foy — who previously worked at Amazon and Enjoy Technologies. At Amazon, Foy was the director of operations for Kindle, Fire, Echo, and other Amazon devices working out of Lab 126 in Sunnyvale. And he was the head of operations at Enjoy Technologies.

“One of the things that (Jeff) Bezos used to say all the time when we were building Kindle was the technology should disappear, you should not get in the way of the experience of reading a book,” added Foy. “And it feels the like the same here; we don’t want this to be a technology-heavy process for the buyer, we want to stay as frictionless as possible so that we can attract more and more people onto the site rather than going to traditional dealerships and giving them a much better experience. So it’s really about removing friction from the product.”

With this funding round, Shift is planning to invest in its technology platform and scale its engineering staff from 35 to over 80 people by the end of 2019. Currently, Shift employs 450 people and nine new graduate hires will be starting over the summer.

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